Women in warfare and the military (1900–45)

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This timeline of women in warfare and the military (1900–45) deals with the role of women in the military around the world from 1900 through 1945. By the end of the 19th century, women in some countries were starting to serve in limited roles in various branches of the military. The two major events in this time period were World War I and World War II. Please see Women in World War I and Women in World War II for more information.

For articles specifically pertaining to the United States, see: Timeline of women in war in the United States, Pre-1945.

Timeline of women in warfare from 1900 until 1945 worldwide (except present US)[edit]



World War I[edit]

  • Austria Viktoria Savs serve as a soldier in the imperial Austrian army in the guise of a man and is awarded with the Medal for Bravery (Austria-Hungary) for valor in combat for her service in the Dolomitian front. [2]
  • Australia: More than 3,000 Australian civilian nurses volunteer for active service.[3]
  • Britain: The British form the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps in 1917; the Corps is renamed the Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps in 1918. Members of this corps serve as clerical staff, cooks and medical personnel. It is disbanded in September 1921. Also in 1917, the British form the Women's Royal Naval Service as a branch of the Royal Navy. Members of this corps serve as clerks, cooks, electricians and air mechanics. The British disband the unit in 1919.[citation needed]
  • Canada: Over 2,800 women serve in the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps during the war. Women also receive training in small arms, first aid and vehicle maintenance in anticipation of being used as home guards.[4]
  • New Zealand: Nurses in the New Zealand Army Nursing Service serve on hospital ships and in hospitals at the front in France.[5]
  • Romania: During the 1916 battle in the Jiu Valley, Ecaterina Teodoroiu transfers from the Romanian Army's all-female nurse corps to the Reconnaissance Corps. She is taken prisoner while serving as a scout, but escapes after killing several German soldiers. In November she is wounded and hospitalized, but returns to the front; she is decorated, promoted to Sublocotenent (second lieutenant) and given the command of a 25-man platoon. For her valor she is awarded the Military Virtue Medal, First Class. On 3 September 1917 (22 August Old Style) she is killed in the Battle of Mărăşeşti (in Vrancea County) after being hit in the chest by German machine-gun fire. According to some accounts, her last words before dying were "Forward, men, I'm still with you!"[citation needed]
  • Russia: Russia fields 15 formations of female battalions for several months in 1917; two (the 1st Russian Women's Battalion of Death and the Perm Battalion) are deployed to the front. By the end of the year, all battalions are dissolved.[6]
  • United States: The United States Navy formally accepts women nurses into the Nurse Corps. The first twenty women are known collectively as the Sacred Twenty.




See also[edit]


  1. ^ Arrizón, Alicia (1998). "Soldaderas and the Staging of the Mexican Revolution". 42. MIT Press: 90–112. 
  2. ^ Reinhard Heinisch: Frauen in der Armee – Viktoria Savs, das „Heldenmädchen von den Drei Zinnen“. In: Pallasch, Zeitschrift für Militärgeschichte. Heft 1/1997. Österreichischer Milizverlag, Salzburg 1997, ZDB-ID 1457478-0, S. 41–44.
  3. ^ "Australian War Memorial 2012 Exhibition". Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
  4. ^ "CBC News in Depth: Canada's Military". CBC News. 30 May 2006. Retrieved 2011-03-11. 
  5. ^ A Companion to Women's Military History, edited by Barton Hacker, Margaret Vining, https://books.google.com/books?id=UoHbxKfyTcUC&printsec=frontcover&dq=women+in+military&hl=en&sa=X&ei=ej21UY2KCs7_qAH-v4GICQ&ved=0CEwQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=women%20in%20military&f=false, p. 201
  6. ^ Richard Stites The Women's Liberation Movement in Russia: Feminism, Nihilism, and Bolshevism 1860-1930, published 1978 by Princeton University Press, ISBN 0691052549, https://books.google.com/books?id=qy679HV7AmkC&dq=richard+stites+women's+liberation+russia&source=gbs_navlinks_s, p. 299.
  7. ^ "BBC - WW2 People's War - Timeline". www.bbc.co.uk. 
  8. ^ Keely Damara. "First Asian American woman Navy officer honored in ‘Born to Lead’". PCC Courier. Retrieved 2015-04-12. 
  9. ^ The Forgotten Army: India's Armed Struggle for Independence, 1942-1945 By Peter Ward Fay
  10. ^ Women Against the Raj: The Rani of Jhansi Regiment By Joyce C. Lebra, p.X
  11. ^ Women Against the Raj: The Rani of Jhansi Regiment By Joyce C. Lebra, p.xii
  12. ^ Looking East to Look West: Lee Kuan Yew's Mission India By Sunanda K. Datta-Ray, p.71

External links[edit]